Monday, September 9th, 2013

Nelly ft. Nicki Minaj & Pharrell – Get Like Me

Featured credits, or test question on the Musicocarbon Dating final exam?


Edward Okulicz: Drop it like it’s lukewarm. Great beat, good chorus from Pharrell, decent Nicki guest spot — and Nelly, whose personality has vanished into one of the massive spaces in the aforementioned beat.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: A Neptunes Frankenstein monster: “Money Maker” intro, narcotised “Flap Your Wings” drums, old school Pharrell spoken hook. Even an on-point Nicki verse, offering the 2013 “izzle,” is an attitude-heavy female foil the way Foxy Brown was to P’s beats in the early Noughties. (“Blow My Whistle” 4EVA, you guys!) “Get Like Me” has enough going on to stop it from becoming an exercise in futility — the aforementioned Nicki verse, Nelly’s kinda-true claim of being a precursor to current rapping styles — but it trades that to become an exercise in familiarity.

Brad Shoup: Old-school flows over a Golden Age-harkening Neptunes beat, only there’s no real melodic counterpoint. This can’t have taken anyone more than 20 minutes apiece.

Rebecca A. Gowns: The hip hop pendulum has been swinging back toward minimal beats and soft/sultry swagger — good news for Pharrell. This song feels like we’re finally at the peak, returning to the stuff that worked so well in “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and “Wait (The Whisper Song).” I get some of those echoes of early 2000s snap songs and Neptunes production, but it also has that new car smell — there’s something a bit odd and shiny to the rhythm and the construction of the guest verses. Moreover, it feels like a true collaboration, with all the pieces interlocking into a tight fit: artist to artist, beat to rhymes, 2003 to 2013 and beyond.

David Turner: “Get Like Me,” with its click-clack limited palette of sounds, could’ve been from 1999, 2003, 2007 or 2013, but it’s slightly less exciting than something like “Feds Watching” and its drugged-out spy theme riffs. Nicki Minaj has had some better verses this year, though this isn’t bad; Nelly sounds like Pharrell, which is good-bad, not good-good; then Pharrell smoothly whispers and everyone’s heart goes aflutter.

Alfred Soto: During the same year in which he joins the Dork Trio in “Blurred Lines” and is cool enough to get an invitation to Daft Punk’s retro disco party, Pharrell reprises tricks from 2004, because it was the last time Nelly was okay.

Jonathan Bradley: Considering their pairing has already resulted in one of the iconic singles of the 21st century, it shouldn’t make sense to say that Nelly and Pharrell are an ill-suited match. But the production on “Get Like Me” is very Neptunes, and Nelly was always most enjoyable as a regional concern who found a pop audience — even if “Hot in Herre” was mostly “Bustin’ Loose,” Chuck Brown’s go-go complemented the bouncy Midwestern turn-of-the-century sound. There’s more St. Louis in the country (grammar) of Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” remix than there is in the urbane sprinkle of drums and minimalism Pharrell concocts here; three minutes in I found myself wondering when Nelly would show up, then realized he was the meagre presence warbling away as if he were auditioning for the role of Other Guy From N.E.R.D. Even Nicki injecting “humpty dumpty” into her verse doesn’t sound anything more than perfunctory.

Will Adams: This type of lazy-faire club track can only work if the involved only seem like they’re not trying. You know it’s dire when even Nicki sounds bored.

Katherine St Asaph: It’s hard to shake the suspicion this is merely “Hey Porsche” for a different radio format and man-of-the-minute; Nelly’s “the whole rap game sounded like me” is hilarious because it’s so backward. If anyone were trying it’d help — Pharrell, who knows he doesn’t need to for at least another year; Nicki, whose rotely chill verse gets a radio edit that sounds like “I’m a pro — Like me,” which would be searing if it were intentional; Nelly, who has no excuse.

Patrick St. Michel: Pharrell, besides channeling the production work he’s done for the likes of Clipse and Snoop Dogg, sounds at home in this sparse, clanging environment. And Nicki Minaj does what she does, which is one-up everyone else, even if the most memorable line is about a fashion designer. Oh, and Nelly is there, trying to be clever but sounding like a junior high schooler blessed with way too much confidence.

Jonathan Bogart: Pharrell’s chorus is the best thing in the song, at least until Nicki shows up to render half-hearted support for the peacocking machismo on display. And then she goes away and there’s still another two minutes of Nelly left.

Reader average: [5] (1 vote)

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